Northern teen honored at dinner
For Tyree Green, the Boys & Girls Club in Vance County is a hopeful place in a community full of negativity.
The 15-year-old sophomore at Northern Vance High School said the after-school program was his lifeline.
“I can explore opportunities and just be who I am,” he said.
Green was recognized as the Youth of the Year at Thursday night’s third annual dinner for the Boys & Girls Clubs of North Central North Carolina, which is in its eighth year.
The local Boys & Girls Club traces back to a community forum in 2005 at the Greater Little Zion United Holiness Church.
“The meeting was called together to figure out what to do about all the crime in the city,” said Elaine Chavis-Young, the first president of the Vance County chapter.
She said at the time, the community lacked a positive and accessible organization for youth.
Chavis-Young suggested the creation of a Boys & Girls Club at the meeting and one year later the Boys & Girls Clubs of North Central North Carolina was incorporated with 501(c)(3) status.
The Franklin County chapter opened in 2006 at the former Riverside Elementary School in Louisburg followed by the Vance County chapter. The Vance chapter began in 2007 at Rollins Elementary, Yancey Elementary and later Pinkston Street Elementary. It is now housed in the former Clark Street Elementary building.
The Granville County chapter opened last September in Mary Potter Middle School.
Representative Bobbie Richardson was the guest speaker at the club’s annual dinner, which kicked off its fundraising campaign.
She emphasized the importance of the Boys and Girls Club with a simple message: “Continue to invest now, or pay later.”
“I think we must provide a nurturing environment,” said Richardson, who recently retired as the director of Exceptional Children Programs at Vance County Schools.
“I think we must provide them a sense of love and belonging and a sense of security. We must provide a positive climate for children and then children will grow to learn to become good citizens.”
The Boys & Girls Club of North Central North Carolina faced the possibility of closure in June 2012 during a period of financial hardship.
“Donations were down, some foundations changed their focused and our grants became more competitive,” said interim chief professional officer April Scott. “All of that seemed to hit us at the same time.”
But a $75,000 donation from Goodwill Industries, along with several other large donations, enabled the non-profit to keep its doors open.
Before the organization experienced financial issues, the Vance County location served around 120 kids per day. Now, the average daily attendance is around 60-65 children.
Still, Scott remains optimistic.
“We are hoping to be able to get back where we were,” she said. “It appears we are on the path back to our normal operating schedule.”
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